1. Burkett, Lynn D. MBA, BSN, RN, ONC

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Grieving is described as the feeling of loss, whether it be a partner, friend, colleague, pet, or, in the current state, the loss of a lifestyle. Certainly, in the past months, many of us have shared this loss. In fact, I would venture to say that everyone has grieved in some way, shape, or form.

Lynn D. Burkett, MBA... - Click to enlarge in new window NAON President

Life as we know it since COVID-19 is not and will never be the same again. The isolation of work, friends, society, and all the things that are part of our lives is difficult to accept. Family life has changed. No longer are parents chauffeuring children to activities. They are now finding ways to connect by reading, playing board games, going on walks, and trying to maintain some routine. Our four-legged children have been ecstatic at being with their humans. Staying connected isn't all that difficult as technology has afforded many people the ability to work from home.


Those of us in healthcare still get up, put on our scrubs, and trudge off to work. For many of the countless nurses, doctors, therapists, and other healthcare workers, the horrors of what has been seen will be evident for a very long time. No matter what part you play in this crisis, celebrate the person you are! Take time to give yourself a pat on the back for your dedication to your profession. Even more importantly, please take care of yourself-Make sure to eat healthy (at least once a day), get some sleep, stay hydrated (especially with the PPE dehydrating you), listen to some music, and laugh at least once a day!


Over the past weeks, I have heard many stories of how orthopaedic nurses were called on to step out of their comfort zones. I certainly was and appreciate that I could continue to work through the crisis. Some nurses from the operating room and ortho units were pulled to other units. Many have had to rely on skills learned years and years ago to care for the patient population that is unfamiliar. Ortho nurses became other nurses. Celebrate our colleagues in nursing who have been mentors to those of us pulled to other areas.


In my first article as your president, I shared the story about one of our Congress attendees almost apologizing because orthopaedics is not as exciting as critical care. Little did I realize that just a few short months after writing that article, so many ortho nurses, as well as other specialty nurses, would be practicing as critical care nurses. In nursing school many years ago, we talked about nurses as change agents; today, we talk about resilience in nursing. No matter what the label is, we can adapt to the situation and COVID-19 has demonstrated exactly that.


It is very easy to become despondent with the upheaval in our lives presently. Countless events have been cancelled because of the pandemic-weddings, vacations, birthday parties, Easter, Passover, AAOS meeting, our own Congress, graduations, proms, and unbelievably even funerals. My sympathy to anyone who has lost someone during this trying time. It is difficult to say goodbye when you can be present; I can't imagine the angst associated with a dying family member now.


My mother was hospitalized during the early weeks of the pandemic. She became septic within hours one Saturday in mid-March. My father called the ambulance in the middle of the night, realizing something was not right. I was able to talk to her nurses and doctors and even was invited to "visit" my mother from her door while in the IMU. While my family was relieved that I could report back on her condition, I couldn't help but think of all the patients who are alone. I am certainly grateful to my colleagues who bent the rules and allowed me to see my mom. I celebrate my colleagues!


My daughter-in-law is expecting my first grandchild, a girl, in early July. She is understandably worried about all her doctor appointments and the upcoming birth of her baby. Certainly, we are all hoping that this joyous event will be that. I think about all the people who should be proudly showing off their newborns with family to assist those first exhausting weeks. We will celebrate this new gift of life (and spoil her rotten!). We celebrate the new families!


Elderly people who are alone so often in "normal" times are now even more isolated. Domestic and child abuse is easier to hide now that victims are not out in public. Teachers are worried about their students who felt safe in school. Many people are unemployed and desperate to provide for their families.


Despite the chaos, most Americans have chosen the high road-helping neighbors, contributing and volunteering to the food banks, looking out for seniors who may be isolated, drive-by birthday parties for children and seniors, and one of my favorites-making signs to post at the hospitals and other areas that are essential. I love the ingenuity of teachers in providing education to their students and love to hear their successes. Celebrate the American spirit!


I smile on my daily walks around the neighborhood as I see the flowers and trees in bloom, blue skies, gently flowing streams, and the warm sun. Yards this year are looking particularly beautiful, with more people able to devote extra time to yardwork. I have seen children playing with siblings in yards or riding their bikes and scooters. More and more people have taken to the streets walking with family and pets. Celebrate this time with family and treasure these moments with your children. Celebrate what Mother Nature has gifted to us!


I am thankful to all those in the food industry, truckers, utility companies, municipal employees, military, and all others who are essential during this time. This isn't just about healthcare workers, but all the other spokes of the wheels that keep things moving forward. Please celebrate those who you encounter and thank them for their service.


I also applaud and celebrate the many organizations that have been supporting their employees. My hospital's health system has generously accommodated many of our employees who have health considerations and reassigned them. They have also allowed employees who are furloughed to utilize Income Protection Time (IPT), with no loss of benefits. In addition, any of our employees who have lost childcare due to the pandemic have been able to use IPT as well. I am very proud to work for this great system and celebrate Tower Health as a great employer!


As I write this article, it is Nurses' Day and I celebrate all our nurses in all roles. Admittedly, my bias is orthopaedic nurses! Until we can resume our "normal" roles and care for our patient population, I know you will all embrace being a nurse and provide the best care to your patients. Stay safe, stay strong, and be kind to one another!


Celebrate the stars you are! We are NAON!